Not Hopelessly Romantic but Faithfully Loving

November 11th, 2019

Message Title: Not Hopelessly Romantic but Faithfully Loving
Theme: History is Our Story
Season: Ordinary Time
Color: Green
Main Text: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Scripture Reading: Luke 19:1-10
Scripture: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4, Psalm 119:137-144, Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32:1-7, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12, Luke 19:1-10
Focus: Paul greets the Thessalonians a second time with a hopeful thought wrapped up in some judgmental words not read. 
Function: To be a people of faith-filled love and not bitterness and exhaustion.
Other Notes: All Saints Sunday |  DAYLIGHT SAVINGS ENDS |  Communion Sunday | Announcing Pack a Pew Sunday on First Sun in Dec


  1. Shirley Moore
  2. Reading of Names
  3. Lighting of Candles & Special song

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 19:1-10 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. 2 A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” 6 So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus. 7 Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One came to seek and save the lost.”

RECAP: Since the middle of June we have journeyed through letters in the New Testament and considered the HIstory of believers and how it relates to Our Story. We’ve become very familiar with Paul, experienced the mysterious author of Hebrews, and acknowledges the questions of authorship of other letters. 

Today, we are starting the last letter for this season. This letter fits the same struggles of the letters of Timothy. Scripture says 2nd Thessalonians is much like 1st & 2nd Timothy with the questions of authorship, though the questions are not that strong. Once again, we aren’t scared of questions and uncertainty; dwelling mystery can reveal great things about God and ourselves. 

HISTORY: “Paul” and his companions wrote a letter to the Thessalonian church after some confusion in teaching was spreading about death and the hope of Christ’s return. This letter was written to correct some misdirection and to encourage the Christians as persecution was rising. If Paul did write this letter it was likely during the reign of Emperor Nero, who we talked about last week. 

MAP: Thessalonica was located in modern day Greece not far from Philippi. This city was diverse and the church was filled with a mixture of people and classes that normally would not mix. Their unique community spoke volumes about the Gospel. The message of Jesus surpassed all forms of division.

TRANSITION: This church was wearing down because of the heavy persecution and misdirection by false teachers. 

GOD: Join me in turning to 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 (mention of 5-10)

From Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy: To the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God our Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Grace and peace to all of you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Brothers and sisters, we must always thank God for you. This is only right because your faithfulness is growing by leaps and bounds, and the love that all of you have for each other is increasing. 4 That’s why we ourselves are bragging about you in God’s churches. We tell about your endurance and faithfulness in all the harassments and trouble that you have put up with. …11 We are constantly praying for you for this: that our God will make you worthy of his calling and accomplish every good desire and faithful work by his power. 12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored by you, and you will be honored by him, consistent with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. “we MUST always thank God for you” Paul is overwhelmed about the community in Thessalonica. Their faith grows and so does their capacity to love. 
    1. “Your faithfulness is growing”
    2. “The love that all of you have for each other is increasing”
  2. Therefore Paul makes it clear he’s bragging about the Thessalonians & how they are faithful even during persecution. (Remember how awesome Nero was?? Yeah not a bunch of milk & cookies)
    1. “About your endurance and faithfulness”
    2. “The harassments & trouble”
  3. Paul has been proud of the Thessalonians but wants to caution, encourage, and protect them. 
    1. “Constantly praying for you”
    2. “Accomplish every good desire and faithful work by his power”
    3. “Lord Jesus will be honored by you and you will be honored by him”


  1. Acknowledge VS 5-10 This isn’t all that Paul says in his opening words. In the midst of these warm fuzzy moments Paul has a heavy moment that has been misused for centuries to leave people in abusive marriages and justify extreme pain as a sign of the glory of God … because after all, the bad guys seem to be winning but eventually they’ll burn in hell, where as the good will go to comfortable and safe heaven. Suffering now is like paying your dues to heaven. Anyone can see those words don’t seem to add up well with the God we know. 
  2. The problem: This passage is an example of two problems: taking scripture too close to a letter that we miss the essence and when the comparison game eats at us. 
    1. We become “righteous” with comparison but also overflow with bitterness. Perhaps you will recall the graph from last week: your perceived holiness increases your feelings of hatred. 
      1. I think that same graph could exchanged righteousness for busy-iness and hatred for bitterness. 
      2. Have you ever been so tired and stretched thin that you resent the schedule of others?
      3. Am I the only one that feels the pressure of everyone wanting a bite of your time?
        1. Work,  church, kids’ sports & school functions, personal education & relaxation, holidays & family time, community needs
        2. Stop for a minute and reflect: Are you tired? 
        3. Lord, we’re tired and it’s hard to be your faithful loving  servant when we feel unappreciated or over worked. 
      4. We know we’ve only got 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and we’re told to divide our time in such specific ways by different groups of people. 
  3. A New Way of Thinking: Things have got to change in ourselves and in our churches as a whole to prevent burn out, resentment, and a quenching of the Gospel message. 
    1. We’re talking about change on All Saints’ Day? The day we remember our history???
      1. Yes. because change doesn’t mean our parents, grandparents, or spiritual mentors did things that were wrong, stupid, or morally corrupt. It means that we are a different generation using different resources to serve a different group of people. Therefore ministry and church are gonna change because people change over time. 
      2. As we celebrate All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day I’d like us to thank the past generations for keeping liberty going with love and sweat.  (SPACE FOR PEOPLE TO THINK)
      3. I’d also like us to ask their blessing from those past generations as we find our own ways to pour love and sweat into this world rooted in Christ like they taught us. (SPACE FOR PEOPLE TO THINK)
    2. Change doesn’t mean we devalue those who went before us. 
      1. I’m grateful for those that have come before us. I’m also grateful that we buy noodles from Morning Star instead of spending that extra time making noodles from scratch. 
      2. Noodles from scratch is a glorious thing. It’s amazing that there were generations who took the time to make noodles from scratch for fundraisers. But our world has changed, not all families have a stay at home spouse that can help cook things from scratch. Not every person has that level of cooking skills. 
      3. We had to adapt as a church to keep ministry going. 
      4. Make sense?
    3. We don’t cling to a hopeless romantic picture of what church could be but open ourselves to the possibilities of how we can be a faith-fully living church built on the foundation of generations past and building for the next generations. 
  4. A Solution: Hidden Ministry
    1. Rather than risking bitterness and burnout, let’s change our mindset and find renewed hope. I want to propose a mindset shift that Kira Zweifelhofer named for me “Hidden Ministries.” 
    2. The main concept of Hidden Ministries is for churches to celebrate the giving and work church members are doing even if it isn’t a church calendar event. We want to make your faithful loving lives “count” and hopefully start a trend of joyful churches. 
      1. In your pews are little survey papers. This is your chance to share some of those things that use your time or resources. We’re not trying to brag or make this a contest but to hopefully discover the hidden ministries and passions of liberty rather than continuing to spread our people thin. 
        1. Name:
        2. How I give my time:
          1. Daily 
          2. Weekly
          3. Monthly
          4. yearly
        3. How I give my resources:
          1. Daily 
          2. Weekly
          3. Monthly
          4. Yearly



  1. Deacons pray
    1. Bread first
  2. Deacons pray
    1. Cup second

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